Bernard Hickey describes how a few hundred Auckland home-owners were able to knee-cap the aspirations of generations of renters and strangle New Zealand's economic growth potential in a couple of meetings

By Bernard Hickey

This week Auckland Council decided to revert back to its 2013 version of its Unitary Plan proposal, which will only provide for just over 80,000 new homes by 2040.

This is despite being advised by the experts working for the Independent Hearings Panel on the Plan that they needed to come up with a set of zoning maps that would produce 280,000 houses within the boundaries of the enlarged Auckland Council.

Think about this for a second.

The Auckland Council just decided that it preferred zoning rules that would leave Auckland 200,000 houses short of what it needed to accommodate up to a million extra people over the next 30 years or so. This is in a city that already has a shortage of 35,000 to 50,000 houses and has hundreds of poor, young families living in cars, tents, garages and on families' couches.

This is for a city where housing is more expensive relative to incomes than San Francisco, which is where the world's richest billionaires are building the wealthiest companies in the history of the world in Facebook, Google and Apple. Auckland is where Fonterra, Spark and Fletcher Building are headquartered.

It beggars belief that the governing body for New Zealand's most economically and socially important city would fly in the face of pleas from those representing hundreds of thousands of today's and tomorrow's residents, but also ignore the advice of the Reserve Bank and the Productivity Commission -- let alone Building and Housing Minister Nick Smith and Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Bill English.

The Productivity Commission spent the last five years studying how Council restrictions on land use over the last 30 years created a housing affordability problem in Auckland that was holding back New Zealand's own wealth creation and causing untold social harm. It found Auckland needed to allow growth for New Zealand to obtain the income and wealth benefits of a big city. It described how existing residents fearful of what might be built next to them were strangling the supply of houses in a way that inflated prices, rents, rent subsidies by taxpayers and all the health and social costs from over-crowded and poor housing.

The Reserve Bank pleaded for Auckland to allow more supply to reduce the risks it sees to the financial stability of the banking system from its over-valued housing. It has repeatedly argued that it can't cut interest rates and therefore help the rest of the economy's export sector because of the risks of further inflating Auckland's housing market.

Mr English described Auckland's restrictions on housing supply as the major factor creating child poverty and inequality. His Government argued time and again that Auckland's housing crisis can only be sustainably solved by increasing housing supply. English, who is also Housing New Zealand minister, signed off on a Housing NZ submission to the Hearings Panel that proposed even more intensification than the Council's much criticised and feared 'up-zoned' set of maps submitted in December.

So how did this happen?

Simply put, 700 residents from Kohimarama, Mission Bay and Glendowie held a meeting on February 9 to protest at the maps submitted in December, which they said proposed massive intensification in their suburbs. They argued they had not been told about these changes, which they said was undemocratic. The meeting and the following publicity spooked three Councillors, Ross Clow, John Walker and Chris Darby, into opposing the more intense maps at this Wednesday's meeting.

The maps changed the zoning for 6% of the city's land mass from allowing two storied houses to three storied houses, townhouses and apartments. These maps would have allowed those 280,000 houses to be built over the next 30 years or so.

So what happens now?

The Council has now withdrawn from the Hearings Panel process, leaving the way clear for Housing New Zealand and others to argue for their submissions for even more intensification. The Panel will now have to propose a Unitary Plan by late July without the full cooperation and advice of the Auckland Council. It could recommend an even more intense set of maps, although the chances are now that the freshly-divided and campaigning-for-re-election Councillors would then reject it within 20 working days. The Government's plans for Auckland housing supply would be in tatters, mired either in litigation or attempts to over-rule the Council with new legislation or a set of Commissioners.

This week demonstrated in vivid technicolour the concept of 'Democratic Deficit' outlined by the Productivity Commission last year. This is where a few well organised home owners with the time and resources to lobby councillors are able to stop development near them because these local politicians know older home owners vote at vastly higher rates than young renters. They also vote at infinitely higher rates than those too young to vote or not born yet.

I watched this democratic deficit exposed most cruelly when the Council's Youth Advisory Chair, Flora Apulu, spoke to the Council about how she felt the weight of the city's half a million young people sitting on her shoulders as she argued for the affordable housing they desperately needed from this 'up-zoned' plan.

She was jeered and heckled by the dozens of rich, elderly and very Pakeha homeowners sitting just metres behind her. "Oh poor you," they shouted.

Sudhvir Singh from Generation Zero was jeered even more loudly when he said the generation of home owners sitting behind him were 'pulling up the ladder' of home ownership on the young of today. "Poor you," was the response again.

Indeed. Poor us. 


A version of this article first appeared in the Herald on Sunday. It is here with permission.

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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106 Comments

OK BH, Let's say your home was rezoned for higher density and the value goes up all round you as a result .
Would you object and fight for the status quo, or sell for a profit if offered.

The house value is a red herring its value is its your home, you can never cash its profit in ergo in $s terms its worthless.

What a load of nonsense Steven. A house in Auckland is a valuable asset coveted by many in the world. Because it takes a few weeks to get the money doesn't make it less valuable. A house can be put to work earning money with rent as well. In this respect it is much better than gold.

I agree with BigDaddy that I might sell rather than fight, but I have the opposite problem. I will be surrounded by high density and will be one of only about 10 properties that ISN"T zoned high density for over 3km of Remuera Rd (south side), probably because I am unlucky enough to have a NIMBY National Party MP as my neighbour (on a side street)! Funny how only 10 houses around him are not zoned high density eh! So I get all the negatives (noise, loss of sun, etc) and my property is worth less....

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"... of what it needed to accommodate up to a million extra people over the next 30 years or so."

Don't read any further. Is NZ running a United Nation global resettlement program and nobody was told about it? There is a rationality AND democracy deficit in failing to acknowledge that most New Zealanders do not want massive population growth fuelled by mostly low skilled immigration. Any doubts? Fine, have a democratic referendum about a population target for 2045 - and not waste money on a referendum replacing a flag with a bath towel.

I cannot believe how cheaply resentment is being stirred up here between young and old by mass immigration fanatics. We, the people of New Zealand, do not owe anything to the paupers of the world. They are in no way entitled to come here and neither are we obliged to have them here.

Fix out of control immigration first, then start to sow hatred among Kiwis, is that a reasonable compromise?

I am seriously disgusted.

its not low skilled.

"Fine, have a democratic referendum about a population target for 2045 - and not waste money on a referendum replacing a flag with a bath towel."

totally agree.

"We, the people of New Zealand, do not owe anything to the paupers of the world." actually we do, but we cant pay it and stay afloat.

Sorry Steven I don't understand how I am in debt to the "paupers of the world"?

Same reason you are obliged to pay taxes Camel. We pay for the benefit of all otherwise.....no presentation?..... And to label these people (human beings)as just "paupers" is repugnant. They are not asking for charity. They just want the same basic opportunities given to them as generations previous.

Camel was quoting someone else when writing "paupers". These people represent a significant security threat to the people of the West. What we are observing in Europe and on the southern border of the US is an invasion. A hostile horde coming to steal our wealth.

I didn't realise Donald Trump had an account on this site?! Welcome Donald!

Please do not compare doublegz with the Donald Trump.

yes and no, a) much of our wealth is due to empires where we exploited them. b) not wealth simply to survive.

It is much more complex than that. Due to internal politics in their own countries, these people (refugees)have become dis-enfranchised, oppressed and victims of violence and war. The majority of them are, as identified, simply seeking a place to raise their families in peace and security with reasonable opportunities. The problems are that some have already become radicalised and combined with too high expectations will only create problems wherever they go, for many of them, they don't want, or are unwilling to change their culture to that of their destination, and are thus bringing beliefs about the treatment of women and others that are inappropriate in NZ, and finally we have our own disenfranchised classes that we are already struggling to deal with due to many and successive failed Government policies.

"with due to many and successive failed Government policies." I'd suggest that much of the problem lies with the "disenfranchised classes" themselves. ie having 6 kids that they cannot feed and properly educate in a culture that cannot cope with a "modern economy" is really just a bottomless life ling inter-generational pit of demand. Now could Govn policy influence that? yes but such non-PC statements would impact on "cultural expectations" etc etc.

I see where you're coming from, but that sense of entitlement you're talking about largely stems from social policies where people have been taught that they don't need to worry about whether or not they can afford kids, 'cause the government will pick up the tab through a benefit - ergo failed policies. Equally the job opportunities, especially in the regions are few to non-existent especially for the "low skilled" with no political party offering any real solutions, that will provide a reasonable living standard. National's tinkering with employment law in the name of "providing workers with flexibility" has actually created a worse situation where some are forced to work multiple part time jobs on low or minimal wages just to survive. the stress and cost both financially and health wise is high with little benefit to the individual or society as a whole.

Also this is an on-going clear demonstration of how the interests of a few, usually with money, can override the needs of the many. This is the shape that "modern democracy" is taking. Politicians too easily forget who they represent, and what they need to achieve and are driven by self interest. Can you (anyone) do better? Throw your hat in the ring. Chances are though people will vote for those who will pander to their self interests rather than the greater good, even though they may benefit from the greater good. Short term will often out-weigh the long term.

Agree, but I am not sure it has ever been any different.

Zachary Smith's world view is truly :Trumpian". Why was "A hostile horde coming to steal our wealth" not in evidence before the West(the US mostly) invaded and destroyed Iraq,destabilised Libya and now Syria?
His/her ignorance of the world is truly frightening.The financial loss to America were Trump's 'vision' of forcibly repatriating all illegal Mexicans,would be enormous.A good example would be the Californian horticultural industry which would grind to an immediate halt.

Sorry still don't understand? The basic opportunities previous generations gave them were .. war, famine, poverty and corrupt governments. you say that's want they want?

He/she is obviously confused. However, this logical deficit is quite characteristic for mass immigration fanatics, their self-righteous moralism (obviously they are better humans, the new master race) and liberal attitude towards facts and the truth in general.

I am afraid conservatives are even more deluded than Liberals, but yes both are dangerous to our well being IMHO. My concern right now is an increasing polarization of left and right, ie there seems to be no voter choice in/for the middle ground. The Green's and Labour are frankly border line left wacky (and getting worse )National isnt hugely better on the right, just have a better veneer. NZF is really just National in drag led by a self-interested opportunist. What a great choice for 2017 :(

You think the likes of the British Empire with its decades rape, pillage and general exploitation was good for the developing world?

The purpose of this opinion piece by Bernard is to increase the resentment. And to gain a headline.
There is no analysis at all on the veracity of the "million extra people over the next 30 yrs or so" comment
This is repeated ad infinitum by people who have vested interests. In reality this number of people need not be allowed in here.
What say a political party who has other ideas gets the balance of power.
I think immigration could well be Nationals achilles heel. They must be getting wind of that right now with so called Right Wing councillors baulking at higher density across great swathes of Auckland.

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People love NZ because of its low population, that's our point of difference and that's what makes us so special. We should treasure our (already) great culture, resources and wealth.
You're damn right about the lack of research, debate and democracy. People are scared to be labeled racists or nationalists and our politicians just want more voters and taxpayers. We all dissect the merits of Dairy expansion and yet the same applies to our own country.

You guys have completely missed the point. All Bernard is saying is that Auckland has a huge housing issue, where pretty much all experts agree is a supply issue.

Plans to fix this issue were submitted by an independent group and agreed upon by pretty much everyone, but a minority of auckland residents stopped it from happening. To accept that it's democratic for a tiny minority group to derail what the vast majority want and need (as a greed by virtually every independent expert) is completely illogical.

Not to mention the fact that it's short-sighted and will have long lasting detrimental economic implications.

Trying to argue the accuracy of Bernards hyperbole is just as stupid.

No this is not re: low skilled imigrants. We have young hard working NZ families who are spending porportionally more and more of their income on housing, and are at the mercy of landlords with little to no tenant rights. All of this artificially inflated due to decisions like the one Bernard reported.

That is the point! it is not just a supply issue it is a demand issue.

So demand isn't a major issue? is that you John?

Demand isn't artificially inflated by red tape and stupid decision making the likes of that reported in this article. Immigration to Auckland is not via poor low skilled immigrants. The jobs are here = why people come here.

Intensification if done correctly is a necessary part of good town planning. Take Vancouver as a prime example. http://www.neptis.org/publications/growing-pains-understanding-new-reali...

The issue in NZ is everyone wants a 1/4 acre section which results in massive urban sprawl. Yes, if you build shoe box crappy apartments it won't work for NZers. But if you build decent sized apartments / town houses in town, with lots of green spaces in and around town, you'll find they're actually really liveable. And put less pressure on the required infrastructure = cheaper rates.

Kohimarama, Mission Bay and Glendowie are not the places to build accommodation for young hard working NZ families. These new places would be filled with well-heeled immigrants anyway and would change the beautiful character of Auckland for ever. They need houses out in the suburbs. To the North, the West and the South lie tracts of suitable land.

The last time I went to Auckland I couldn't believe the change in character.

The cost and quality of housing is a disgrace. Come and be a Teacher or Policeman in Napier where you don't have to pay for water and you can buy a house and section for 350k.

Let Auckland squabble about where and how to build high-rise apartments and high density developments. Just stick them all out the back somewhere, Singapore housing estate style..

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The National party neocons are deliberately flooding NZ with cheap labour to force down wages.
NZers' sons, brothers, cousins, fathers, uncles, friends and their female counterparts are having to compete with cheap immigrant labour for low wage jobs while the privileged classes do not. The privileged actually benefit from cheap labour.

However it is our own fault because not enough people who are eligible actually vote on election day.
Voting should be compulsory as it is in Australia. I can't understand why the Labour party doesn't push for compulsory voting.
The Labour party look more and more useless by the day !
Yes, we deserve all we get.

Compulsory voting is that policy designed to annoy people into voting for any party that didn't remove their freedom to chose if they want to vote?

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Well finally we might see the smug baby boomer, loving the Pro Immigration party policies which have driven their property values thru the roof, start to reconsider their vote in the next election. The tsunami of immigration that JK has presided over is a double edged sword for these wrinklies if their multi million dollar quarter acre blocks start to be surrounded by what they would consider tent cities.

Immigrants building houses for immigrants building houses for immi..... is all the PM for Parnell has left up his economic sleeve now that dairy has hit the wall - Don't be fooled by education and tourism - they are all the same thing. Immigration keeps the GDP account ticking ahead but doesn't do a loty for GDP/capita.

Lets see who gets elected when the high rises start springing up around Remeura, Epsom, PARNELL, Milford and the like. In a democratic society this would happen.

Lets see who gets elected when MSM gets off their buttocks and really starts to work out what immigration gives to NZ and AKL with full analysis of the effect on housing, traffic, education, hospitals, policing and social unrest.

First

The number of residents of Remuera, Epsom, Parnell and Milford are a minority. While they may influence an election at the margin, they have insufficient numbers to out-vote the rest, should the rest have an alternate view

Second

As to the media. Not sure you will get much joy there. They are businesses in a business world that relies on advertising, where in Auckland a lot of advertising is government driven. This is seen in the paucity of critical thinking, investigative journalism, and the plethora of info-tainment and obsession with candy-floss trivia

Third

Is the silence of academe and captains of industry - are they muzzled by the same considerations that muzzle the media?

I hope your referendum will inform the citizens that the only positive in the NZ economy at the moment is immigration, without it we will be in recession.

So if more ppl vote to turn a leafy suburb into a concrete jungle than dont that is a success of democracy? uh no.

So what we are left with is a) dont grow our population, b) spread horizontally or c) a mixture.

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Governments made this mess with immigration too high.
This Government allowed immigration to run away.
Let this Government fix up the mess and suffer voter wrath accordingly.

Agree.

Or, the other alternative is to allow immigration as it stands but change the distribution rules ie no immigrants are allowed to settle in Auckland until they have achieved citizen status. If they don't like it they don't get entry.

It used to be this way back in the 1950s. Immigrants were told where they could or could not settle.

There's not the regional job availability that there was in the 1950's. What will they do when they get there?

So,

There is a shortage of houses in Auckland
There is a shortage of jobs on the regions

They both go together

Which one is getting all the attention and resources?

True, these two issues could potentially solve each other. Send immigrants to other areas to create demand/opportunities. If they are not willing or able to do that then they don't gain entry. In the meantime the infrastructure pressure at the very least levels off in Auckland.

The compounding pressure we're seeing in Auckland at present is a runaway train. It's absurd government policy in action.

live on Govn benefit.

Oh yes the old command and control.
Sorry it just won't work.
Auckland has its own momentum, its the engine room. It's like all big cities. you can't fight it.

Aucklanders just need to grow up (pun not intended). Double storey townhouses are NOT high rise or high density. They are low impact. Over time, they will fit in well and suburbs will evolve. Change will be gradual. Whole streets will not be transformed over 7 years, let alone overnight.
The whole beat up on this is totally out of balance.

The Panel will now have to propose a Unitary Plan by late July without the full cooperation and advice of the Auckland Council. It could recommend an even more intense set of maps, although the chances are now that the freshly-divided and campaigning-for-re-election Councillors would then reject it within 20 working days. The Government's plans for Auckland housing supply would be in tatters, mired either in litigation or attempts to over-rule the Council with new legislation or a set of Commissioners.

Hmmmm - who gets to choose the commissioners?

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No aspect of our predicament is in any way improved by having more people.

Gee, is this website the home of 'Flat earth society members'?

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I think we are witnessing a Wallygarchy: "a small group of people having control of a country or organization" according to the first definition of the all-knowing InterWebs.

DC had it right yesterday:

  • the owners involved have done zilch to earn their CG, just sit pat.
  • There is no tax on this gain once realised if it's the Fambly Mansion.
  • This creates all manner of distortions and perverse incentives.
  • It's the poor, the FHB's and the young who bear the other side of this accounting equation

There's a simple answer (GM's, Big Kahuna):

Tax the deemed gain (current RV less buy price, both public figures) at a Modest Rate (most easily achieved by TLA rates, although it would take compulsion for TLA's to shift their expensive and slothful arses and do so).

There's also another angle to the Zoning debacle. Awkland, as residents may have noticed, is built on an undulating landscape, courtesy of Gaia's hot juices bubbling to the surface every now and then.

So a section that has a gully at its foot, can easily accommodate a 5-storey (15m) edifice in said gully without even breaking the viewline of the neighbours. Zoning maps ignore altitude (an other triumph of central planning).

Of course, there'll be Rare Snails in that gully, so better get busy with the Blitzem......

"So a section that has a gully at its foot, can easily accommodate a 5-storey (15m) edifice in said gully without even breaking the viewline of the neighbours. Zoning maps ignore altitude (an other triumph of central planning)."

Just look at how the NIMBYs of Three Kings reacted to that sort of proposal with the quarry there......

You simply cannot have a modern, efficient city and all the benefits that come with it, with acres and acres of old villas and "kiwi dream" sections populated by class so blinkered to change who then bemoan rates increases yet greedily chuckle at how much their house has increased in value.

Well put. Bunch of unintelligent hypocrites.

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Have home-owners been permitted to have any democratic input into the NZ Govt's decision to allow high levels of immigration, uncontrolled foreign property ownership/buying privileges, protected duopoly of building supply companies, high cost of section devt?
.
The above factors are the major reasons why young NZers find it difficult to buy Auckland houses.

yes we have. It was the general election which gave National the mandate to continue being sell outs to China.

Would Labour have done any different?

Winston would!
Given the chance?
He has every chance of having the balance of power next time but is he just hot air?

His past track record is what?

I agree on NZF, could even pass the Green's as they wallow in their wee red pit.

They were a huge part of the problem. Everyone could see this issue brewing in the early / mid 2000s. Labour did nothing.
At least the Nats have made a decent stab at the issue, if not necessarily that successful (thus far)

They were a huge part of the problem. Everyone could see this issue brewing in the early / mid 2000s. Labour did nothing.
At least the Nats have made a decent stab at the issue, if not necessarily that successful (thus far)

Young NZers find it hard to vote so they should stop whinging.

Old NZers find it hard to have a backbone. They should stop being so greedy.

I think if you researched these "few hundred Auckland home-owners" you would find they are highly educated, have very low crime levels, are excellent drivers, pay enormous taxes, draw on very little welfare and are patrons of the arts. They represent the very finest of our people and should be respected not disparaged. We should have confidence in their decisions because of their fine track record. My advice is to have faith in them rather than the Marxists who infest the comments section here.
I suspect the people who want to build the high rise ghettos would advocate for accelerated immigration and refugee re-settlement as well. We need strong, sensible and a little bit selfish, people to lead us.

If I hadnt read some other stuff you have posted,I would suspect that you were writing with your tongue firmly in your cheek-but sadly,you really mean it. You would have been perfect as a Victorian mill owner,moaning about the undeserving poor.
They may well have a lower crime rate,but when they do steal,they steal millions.The average white collar theft is many times that of benefit frauds.Better drivers? On what evidence? Many of the world's finest dictators have been patrons of the arts.
I really like the "Marxists who infest the comments section". Are they worse than the Fascists?
You are not 'just a little bit selfish' No, You are all the way Selfish and Margaret Thatcher would have loved you.

Thank you for the feedback linklater01. I will respond just so that you and other readers know that I have read your comment. Believe it or not I regard myself as socialist however I am opposed to International Socialism and believe that socialism should apply only locally and be tied to the land and the people and their history. Unfortunately with the advent of globalism and intensified migration any measures undertaken to address inequalities will apply to anyone who comes here. Sadly it is impossible for us to be generous to everyone on the planet and to do so would mean eventually reducing our living standards to third world levels and having our safety and security severely compromised, our culture wrecked. Multiculturalism has been proven to reduce the overall levels of trust within society and I guess I am a victim of that. Being a realist and believer in evolutionary theory I am now forced to change my stance and in order to survive have to adopt what appears to you to be a Victorian mill owner's mindset. Safe zones will be defined by economic reality, more so than before.
I am not going to support socialist measures that will be taken advantage of by hundreds of thousands of migrants from alien cultures seeking a slice of Kiwi social welfare along with the opportunity to overthrow the civilization that my forefathers have built up.
The envious Marxists eyeing up the most well established parts of Auckland for densification and redevelopment remind me of Red Guards in China hunting landlords or Black nationalists in Africa picking on White farmers. I am suspicious of their motives and no good will come of it.

'High rise ghettoes' ?????????
Actually 2/3 storey townhouses, probably usually quite high value.
Disingenuous to say the least.

Judging by the quality of their pro sprawl arguments they seem to be anything but intelligent. I would say most are just lucky to have bought a house in an area that went up in value so much.

In the context of how critical the problem is right now, this is bordering on academic. Obviously it is an issue that is going to be argued about for quite some time into the future before anything is resolved. Therefore this approach will do nothing for the very pressing problems that we face right now.
In terms of providing housing for first time house buyers and the less wealthy, I doubt that it will be of any help ever. Consider what sort of multi unit houses will be built in the Eastern bays. I suggest that they will be very up market to extract as much money as possible for the developers. More like the very flash apartment buildings along Remuera rd.
The present problem is critical. We are about 30,000 plus houses short in Auckland and going backwards rapidly with the number of immigrants flooding in. Immediate action is required to stabilise the situation. Immigration needs to be dialled back to returning Kiwis only and there needs to be a substantial release of land for development at the perimeter of Auckland. By all means carry on trying to resolve the densification issue, but hanging on to the belief that it is going to solve all the problems right now is very foolish.

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We should remember Nobel winner Friedman over 50 years ago:

" You cannot have open borders and a welfare society"

Why do we think this has changed ?
The issue is the quantum - Very few are opposed to immigration per Se
It's just it's running at one of the highest rates in the world.

Winne the Pooh was rubbished when he pointed this out many years ago.
Today the rate is even higher.

Immigration levels can not ignore infrastructure without consequences.
It's called central planning - now out of vogue.

Maybe a little back to the future is required.

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Um, not trying to be funny, but before i invite a whole lot of people to stay at my place, i usually try and check to make sure there is enough rooms for everyone.

And by that argument all NZ citizens should check with the government that there will be enough houses for everyone in 20 years time before having children?

The sensible lot (our finance minister/ RBNZ /BH/ F Apulu / S Singh and some sensible lot in the A Council and anyone else who is half interested in solving the Auckland Housing crises) are simply asking for sensible Choices for people to live in the way they want to live in homes built within the applicable planning rules. Not everyone wants a 400 sq. m house with a pool. Most young people climbing up the ladder would be totally happy with a 40 - 50 sq. m pad with a tiny kitchen and no lawns and when they grow, will likely prefer to move to suburbs. Whats wrong with that?. Solving this problem is not rocket science. One possible solution to end this housing crisis--Put a pin at the center of Auckland Harbour Bridge, draw a 10Km (yes 10 kilometers) radius from this point. All residential areas that are currently designated residential in this area- allow intensification to the hilt. OK lets get everyone involved and lets limit the argument to whether the radius of the circle should be 10Km or maybe 7.5 to 9 Km). If it doesnt get done now, your grand kids will wonder why the past generation were so ignorant. Show some respect to the likes of F Apulu who is sticking out for the kids wanting to climb up. The characteristics of these young people are similar to people who are the driving force behind the likes of Google, Apple etc. Give them a break and watch what they will give back to not only Auckland but NZ Inc. Look at any comparable city in the world. I wish for a sensible outcome.

Is there a crisis in Auckland? Perhaps the crisis is in other parts of New Zealand? Think outside the square.
Our young people should head to the provinces like true pioneers and build beautiful places out there in the wild lands. Make the whole of NZ DGZ!
Central Auckland is our Elysium.
https://youtu.be/QRUm5E4Abgg

So you don't want migrants, or young people in Auckland. How about the poor? Or should they be on their way too? In this wonderful nirvana have you thought about who's going to provide you those basic services now you've kicked them out of your fair city? Who's going to empty your garbage, pour your drinks, teach your kids, look after you when you're sick? More and more convinced you're little more than a troll with every comment you spout.

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Can we relax regulation enough to build the Soweto-style shantytown that will be needed?

If I remember correctly the last labour government did have a policy of moving the unemployed out of the major cities to take jobs in provinces.

What jobs?

Spoken like someone who already inherited everything he needs. (Don't waste our time with the usual 'self-made' pack of lies.)

Vast swathes of London allow 3 stories (in fact 4 stories, if the ground is considered one). London may not be everyone's cup of tea, but suggesting 3 stories will suddenly all become high rise ghettos is clearly hysterical hyperbole. Quite why certain suburbs were picked and not others, I don't know. I live in Mt Eden which actually could go up a floor in some areas in my opinion, but for some reason wasn't included. The process also clearly tried to sneak past some obvious objections, and that was undemocratic.
Yes there are certainly questions about why we are encouraging so much immigration. However the city will grow quickly enough it would seem, and would be better in my view with more houses closer to the centre than building more in Pokeno. Transport remains critical.
So in all, I hope they get some of their intensification plans passed, and invest billions in transport solutions. If I can't see a volcano out my window, I can get over it.

Who says people have to live in Auckland? Plenty of cheap housing in New Zealand and hopefully those in 2012 bought a modest Auckland pad or were they waiting for the prices to drop? Who says housing should be affordable anyway? Houses are expensive so get over it or move south.

I know right? There is no crisis in Auckland. What they want is central Aucklanders to solve everyone else's problem. It ''s like in Europe. In fact Europe had no crisis but was on the verge of developing a truly wonderful and advanced society.

I'm not sure how allowing the free market to decide what housing should be built where is "wanting central Aucklanders to solve everyone else's problem"

Please don't encourage Aucklanders to move south. That just spreads and magnifies the predicament. East or west would be far more suitable. :)

what many people are doing is buying south and living like kings in Auckland; paying 2% net yield rent for better houses than they could afford to buy plus get all the benefits of tax deductions...

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immigration is the most crucial 'democracy deficit' issue in NZ. Who decides how many to be let in, how fast, where, etc ? One can say it is the elected government, but no, it is actually a few politicians and government officials. We badly need a nation wide referendum on our population/immigration policies. Housing is only a subset of the wider population issue. Wise up, citizens.

Very similar to the Mixed Housing Urban changes which were pushed through by a very small subset of elected Councillors. Some of whom have now cynically changed their tune because they realize that they would have been voted out if they didn't.

So many pollies and judges and the like have investment property portfolios that you will NEVER see action from them. They love this bubble.

The harbour edge elite don't want anyone intruding on their private ocean views.

I see that even MSM NZ gets it. What a pity the government and Auckland councillor officers and councillors don't get it.

'As a result, the study authors found that due to the carbon pollution humans have emitted so far, we’ve committed the planet to an eventual sea level rise of 1.7 meters (5.5 feet). If we manage to stay within the 1 trillion ton carbon budget, which we hope will keep the planet below 2°C warming above pre-industrial levels, sea levels will nevertheless rise a total of about 9 meters (30 feet). If we continue on a fossil fuel-heavy path, we could trigger a staggering eventual 50 meters (165 feet) of sea level rise.'

http://www.msn.com/en-nz/weather/topstories/earth-is-warming-50x-faster-...

Of course there has been, and will be, no planning whatsoever for the inevitable inundation of Auckland, which will commence in a decade or so. Just more of the same insanity that has characterised the past 50 years of so-called planning.

I guess the first to disappear under water will be the Southern Motorway around Otahuhu, the Northwestern around Te Atatu and the Northern just across the bridge. Waves pounding across the front garden and into the lounge won't be good for property values in Mission Bay or Devonport.

Global financial-economic arrangements will undoubtedly have disappeared 'in a puff of smoke' long before sea level rise seriously affects Auckland, very likely by the end of this year.

Do not blame the 700 residents from who protested changes that had not been consulted on and made no sense (see below). Blame the council for refusing to rethink the rural urban boundary (RUB) and get more sensible about apartments. You cannot create affordable housing by taking a million dollar 800 sq m section and building two homes on it (which is what most of the upzoned plan was planning). Auckland desperately needs apartments around transport hubs and land freed up for building. Removing one house and building two is inefficient, costly, and makes 800 sq m sections unaffordable for families because they are now sold to developers. Have you seen all the building in Pokeno? Seen the statistics on the spread of lifestyle blocks? Do all those buying lifestyle blocks actually want 10 acres or are they just looking for a little extra space at a somewhat affordable price? Currently we have sprawl by stealth. Remove the artificial urban growth boundary (RUB) and end land banking! Currently land inside the RUB (actually MUL) is 10 times the price of land just outside it - ridiculous! Thinking ahead a couple of decades we will have self driving cars that make long commutes a lot more attractive. More and more people will be jumping the RUB and buying in Pokeno if the council refuses to budge. We can accept the fact that some people actually want a bit of space and plan for it, or we can put our head in the sand and say "sprawl bad, ban sprawl".

"She was jeered and heckled by the dozens of rich, elderly and very Pakeha homeowners "

Not sure what the relevance of being "Pakeha" is, let alone, being "very Pakeha" for that matter?
I'm a middle-aged, middle-class "Pakeha" ("very", not so sure?) living and working in Auckland. My wife and I would like to start a family and don't own a home.

Does our race and its accompanying "white privilege" somehow dilute our plight relative to others???

White Face

Pākehā is a Māori term for New Zealanders of "European descent"

Does not include Pacifika, or Asian, or Eskimos, Nth American Red Indians, or African Americans

Bernard counted them and interviewed them ALL and those interviewees willingly disclosed their ethnic heritage, their age, and their bank balances - yeah I'm sure they did, just as I'm sure he didn't

Not sure about Pakeha but apparently they are "highly educated, have very low crime levels, are excellent drivers, pay enormous taxes, draw on very little welfare and are patrons of the arts" and will all be knighted by their mate JK in the New Year Honours List. Most of them have discovered the cure for cancer and just want some some of what Hitler called "Lebensraum" in their dotage.

Even though they are allegedly good sorts, like Adolf they don't mind trampling over a few peasants to get what they want.

Yeah, Hitler was like "Let's turn the whole of Europe into DGZ!"
From my reading of history I concluded it was the communists that trampled the peasants, confiscated their farms, collectivized them, stole their wealth by appealing to the greater good of all humanity, caused massive famines and untold misery.
The 700 of Central Auckland are heroes like the 300 Spartans at the Battle of Thermopylae.

Wow. Personally,I find it a little hard to choose between Hitler and Stalin.As a gross simplification,you could say that Stalin was happy to kill millions of his own people,while Hitler was keen to kill millions of 'non-Aryans'.Actually,you might say that Hitler had less excuse,given the sophistication of German society,while Russia had known only the brutal rule of the despotic Romanovs for almost 300 years.Simon Sebag Montifiore has just written an excellent book on them.
Likening the Auckland 700 to the Spartan 300 at Thermopylae is as good an example of hyperbole as I have come across for some time.As you know,they were defeated in the end and I wonder who the traitor will be?
Have you ever been to any European cities? They have lots of apartments and they seem to manage ok.

"Does our race and its accompanying "white privilege" somehow dilute our plight relative to others" Unfortunately in this country for the last few years the answer has been yes. Creepy and disgusting, but true.

I guess the "very Pakeha" is just a form of racial slander. "Very Maori", "very African", "very Indian" or - for Gods sake - "very Muslim" would certainly be seen that way.

Have people here ever heard of "transracial"? It is like transgender, but referring to race. A "Pakeha" woman in the US has been - to my knowledge - the first one to be officially declared African-American because she feels African on the inside. This is not a joke, btw.

I get a feeling that the author is probably also still searching for his racial identity. There are these revolting "very Pakeha" people who oppose his views and there is he and maybe his buddies who are really a better breed, morally superior, smarter, and definitely a lot less "Pakeha", yuk!

And again Auckland continues its spiral dive into being more badly planned than many 3rd word countries. All it takes is 700 pakeha to change Auckland Councillors minds. Do they not have a spine?

700 Pakeha is actually a formidable force.....as we observed.

Democracy and Immigration and Auckland

Croaking Cassandra on immigration policy - Bernard Hickey's goto man

Our population – in a country that has one of the worst performances of any advanced country – has grown faster than that of Norway, one of the most successful countries in the advanced world.

Not a recipe for success – at a family, or national level

It looks like a wrongheaded policy, foisted on us – at our expense, without seeking our endorsement - by a succession of bureaucratic and political elites who offer barely a shred of evidence in support of the success of their strategy

http://croakingcassandra.com/2016/02/27/new-zealand-and-norway-a-real-ex...

The NIMBY's won?! What they've done is shut themselves out of the decision making process! Own Goal. Their voice is no longer represented via the Council. Its now in the hands of Government Agencies so its going to become a Mayoral election issue and maybe a General Election issue? Which will play into Labours' hands in both cases! Oh dear I don't think the nimby's thought it through ....

Exactly. Very dumb strategy.

Auckland's housing issue is actually a constitutional issue......it is not about democracy, race, or any of the other nonsense factors that have been raised.......the only people benefiting from these latter issues are the journalists who can keep writing stories without changing their political spots......hardly helpful !

How many people have looked over to cities like Brisbane where they have gone on an apartment building binge and now there is not enough houses on sections available for families and others who need the space of a section etc???

It should not be implied by anyone that densification delivers affordable housing!

Surely Auckland can find a few spare paddocks and designate that area for apartments if that is the type of accommodation that some people are wanting.......

Errr we don't have a written constitution....

But we have a constitution which is enshrined in Acts of Parliament, the Bill of Rights, Magna Carta etc. So it is ok to have a constitutional question.

Takere....we have a constitutional arrangement through various pieces of legislation as Peter Pen has stated.......also NZ is signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international arrangements........

I would have thought that it is an Ancient Right to have a roof over one's head....and that comes under the 1688 Bill of Rights......then there is NZBORA which at the end provides protection for all other existing rights......then there is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights - Article 17 protects property rights and Article 25 includes housing as a standard of living right........Article 30.

"Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein".....Auckland Council along with any other Council shouldn't be destructing any of the rights and that includes the right to housing........so the whole story of boundaries should be interpreted as a breach of the rights of all the people......Auckland City Council has no exemption status from the constitutionally granted rights so it needs to remove itself out of the way......

I stand by my statement that this housing issue is a Constitutional issue...and I am disgusted that journalists, lawyers and academics refuse to bring forth public debate on these important issues.

I wonder what the percentage of the population is who have no idea what the constitutional arrangement is? And what the effect of that ignorance of the arrangement has on their lives and their decisions.

Come on BH, its a bit rich comment unless you have lived with barely functional Super city council, the revised plan allowed my neighbour high density high rise but I had to stay 2 level character(because they were road front) that my neighbours could sell to a developer and allow a high rise to look into my pool and garden, but I could not do the same if I didn't want live next to a high rise is bizarre, the latest change to the plan was a poorly thought out knee jerk reaction to placate wellington.

I’m not sure why people keep on talking about the proposed changes as high density. On the vast majority of mixed housing urban sites (under 1000m2/ 1200m2) a three story structure will need to be 5-6m from the boundary (assuming a flat site and 2.7 stud). Add in a limit of 40% building coverage and you'll find the bulk of and proposed building is far less than you expect – I’d suspect that in the majority of cases apartments wouldn’t be commercial viable (maybe with the exception of high value sites/ sites with sea views – similar to what is already happening along Tamaki Drive)
I’m unsure if the principal of natural justice has been breached as those hiding behind proper process have been misinformed, incoherent, have shown no understanding of the effects of the proposed zoning (past present or future) , and as such have little of value to add to the debate on Auckland’s future. The revised planning maps were actually really well-reasoned, data driven, and consistent with the principals applied elsewhere in Auckland. Maybe it’s time that the voices of the informed, specifically those who deal with the built environment were heard and valued.

I would generally support intensification of the city,but I can forsee one major problem: the appalling building standards in NZ. Leaky building syndrome is on of this country's nastiest little secrets and I for one,would be very reluctant to live in any apartment block for just that reason.
Ironically,remediation of these properties adds to GDP,yet another reason to question its value to society